We have grown rather accustomed to long trips for short stays, so much so that a 500 mile weekend is not such a big deal anymore.
There are a lot of events we are invited to and we can only attend a few of them. But when Randall Graham asks you to attend, you attend. In this case, the event was his annual Day of the Doon, a celebration of all things Bonny Doon. There was a lot to celebrate this year.
For any who have been following Grahm for the past few years, you are likely aware of his current and perhaps most ambitious project, a 240 acre ranch in San Juan Bautista California. Fitting for the industry trend-setter he is, Grahm is not quietly planting vines on some beautiful but traditional vineyard site. That would be too easy. Starting with a piece of land on the outskirts of a tiny town an hour or so southeast from Santa Cruz, in addition to grape vines, Grahm is planting a small farm on bio-char (1) which will one day include a plethora of fruit trees. He is also hybridizing his own grapes, growing his future vineyard from seed (2), an exceedingly difficult task. The results will be something no one has ever seen before and certainly has ever tried, possibly for good reason, as it may not work.
There is a lot of risk, but would there be any other way for a man who has built his entire career on risks?
Day of the Doon was spent wondering the wonderfully magical ranch, including a tasting of bio-char vs. traditionally grown organic tomatoes (it was tomato heaven), a flight of 2001, 2003, and 2005 Le Cigare Volant en magnum (which was astounding), and a wonderful community meal in a barn high up on the hill. But being Randall Grahm, there were also local Native American dancers to start the festivities and an Indian naming ceremony at the close of the evening. And so it was, that on an all too short September night, the name Popelouchum (Mutsun name for paradise) was bestowed onto this truly lovely place. (3)
You should also check out these stunning pictures by Ted Holladay who did an amazing job shooting Day of the Doon.
Song: “Flume” – Bon Iver
Recommended viewing 720p or higher.
(1) for more reading on bio-char, see: Been Doon So long, Why Terroir Matters
(2) I don’t get all the science, but this will help explain the hybridized grape vines: Everybody Into the Pool!
(3) There were other things mentioned by Randall I do not feel at liberty to share, but they are exciting and have me wondering what will be next for Bonny Doon. Stay dooned!